WiFi signal strength indicator?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
Is the Wifi Signal strength indicator just inaccurate?
I see my signal strenght go all over the place.
My TX and RX audio are just fine. 
I don't see many dropped packets. 
It's showing poor but I have 1 ms latency.
Does the WiFi on Maestro still need a lot of work?
One of my 5G connections takes minutes to show up. 
My Unifi APs show up instantly. 
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Steven Hess

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Posted 3 years ago

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Mike va3mw

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Hi Steve

I don't think you can compare it to wifi signal strength like we are used to. If you look back in the forum you will find lots of discussion about it.

In my remote operating situation, I seldom see 1 or 2 bars yellow, but to be honest, I can never hear the difference. So, I just stopped worrying about what it showed and worried about what I could hear!

73, mike va3mw
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Steven Hess

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Yea I'm seeing one bar of red to full bars of green.
I simply know that it's impossible.
I'm 12 feet from my AP and it's on High.
I have zero audio drop outs.

You'd think FlexRadio would work on this as visual perception is something we've been conditioned to interpret from laptop, smartphone and, tablet use.  I know my Unifi APs are commercial grade WiFi implementations and it's doubtful they are the issue. "Dropped 464 out of 140900 packets  (0.33%) I am assuming those are collisions on the WiFi 
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Steven Hess

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What's interesting is the Netgear Router's 5G WiFi (five feet away) is 100% solid. 
Never dips below 100%. I'd vote on packet collisions
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Al K0VM, Elmer

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The Wifi indicator does not indicate signal strength but rather signal quality. So even though the AP is nearby, the signal could be strong but the quality can suck if there are other wifi users on the same channel in the area or the AP is not up  to the task..

AL, K0VM
(Edited)
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Kevin

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"Wifi and networks are the wild wild west." For real or did I miss the smiley face after that statement?

Everyone's networking equipment reporting it's a good network except for Flex equipment so it must be all the other equipment is wrong. I'm hoping Flex gets into the network equipment arena soon! Cisco, Juniper, Dell and all the others have been doing it wrong for so many years. I'm sure FRS can teach them all the right way to do it.

I wonder if snmp is available on the Flex. I'd like to start collecting some statistics from the Flex's network interface.

73,
Kev K4VD
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Mike va3mw

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Sort of ! :) While there is a standard, the variances in it don't really help. Sadly, I have had to look under the covers way too much.
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Steven Hess

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I'm convinced mine is wildlly inaccurate.  (o^-^o).
Maestro is up to the task. It works. Reportage is good enough but might be misleading if you pay too much attention to it.  I can't determine any substantial difference between a poor connection and a excellent as reported by the network screen. Zero audio differences detected.  Good enough is good enough to work from the patio. BTW is at one time reported these APs as excellent to good. I'm the only person on 5G for quite a ways here as determined by war driving with my WiFi network software. 

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KF4HR

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I typically sit within 20 feet (line of sight) of my AC rated Router and watch the signal strength on my Maestro vary from full strength, to a weak signal (along with occasional resulting slow down of spectrum display), then it will show full signal strength again a minute or two later, but overall I'm getting decent operation about 95% of the time.  I'm hoping the next software update corrects this issue.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The indicator is not signal strength.  It is a network quality indicator.  Your network is dropping packets.  We can't fix local network issues with a software update.
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Steven Hess

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I never see the waterfall slow down even. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Then if there is no visual or audible loss of data, don't worry about the indication of the network health indicator.  Dropped packets in a wifi network are a fact of life and the FLEX-6000 can tolerate it without degrading the operating experience.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This issue has been discussed in great detail.

1.) The indicator is NOT signal strength, it is Network Quality.  The client (Maestro) knows what packets to expect from the radio.  If they do not arrive, they are were lost in the network link.  When a packet is lost, the client has no clue why because it has no visibility into the network layer.

2.) The radio is streaming UDP data to the client.  It is not buffering data like what is done for streaming media applications.  Some network devices (Ethernet switches and wireless routers) just cannot maintain these continuous streams of data and end up dropping (or losing) packets.  This is the primary reason for item #1

3.) Wireless devices are susceptible to multipath propagation errors.  Also a reason for item #1

4.) Wireless devices are susceptible to QRM from other wireless networks and devices.   Also a reason for item #1

5.) Insufficient bandwidth is also a reason for item #1.  Wireless devices are 1/2 duplex, so the maximum theoretical bandwidth is 1/2 of what is quoted on the router specs.  And for every wireless client on the router, the bandwidth diminishes by 1/2. 

6.) Just because the Maestro and the wireless router have a clear line of sight, that does not preclude problems 2-5 from occurring.
(Edited)
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NX6D Dave

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I think you are probably seeing a known bug.  Sometimes I get perfect performance of my wired Ethernet connection to my Maestro and the indicator is solid green.  Zillions of packets go by without a single loss.  Other times I'm seeing a loss of up to about 1% of packets and the indicator is red.  Rebooting the Maestro usually "solves" the problem.

I've checked carefully and am certain that I'm not using a Wifi connection.  I've also see Wifi connections run perfectly.  I still need to run a test with Wifi only to see if I observe the connection alternating in performance.

The bottom line is:  This is a known tracked bug.  That means that it will be addressed at some point and probably corrected.

Also, FWIW, I agree that the choice of icons for this information is poor.  Regardless of how many times it is said, people routinely interpret the icon as a wireless signal strength meter.  I don't see any purpose to paddling upstream against this.  I think the icon should be changed.
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NX6D Dave

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I see my comment was off topic.  I thought the original comment was about a wired connection. Sorry about that.

When I run my Maestro on WiFi, I see occasional packet losses, but they come in clusters then the connection recovers for a while.  The indicator varies from green to red to green as the glitches occur.  The occasional drop-out of a WiFi connection seems reasonable to me, particularly when you consider that only three of the 2.4GHz channels (1,6,11) don't overlap and everyone knows which they are now and tries to use one of them.

When I survey my local area for WiFi channel use, I see lots of APs and lots of channel 1, 6 and 11 use.  My AP is using channel 7, which largely overlaps channel 6, but no one in the area is using channel 7, so my AP picked it.  Lots of QRM to deal with.
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Dewey

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What seems strange to me is that I looked at my WiFi dropped packet status every time I shutdown my Maestro (located 2-ft away from my AC1900 high-end router).  Using SSDR versions prior to 1.9.7, I never once saw a lost WiFi packet, and always all WiFi symbol bars lit-up.  I've not made any changes to my router setup and there are no other devices using WiFi when I use Maestro with Flex-6700.  Now using v1.9.13.89, I typically see only 2 WiFi signal bars and the number of lost packets is so high, I've been forced to switched to hard-wired network connection.  This does not occur with other WiFi devices when I connect to this router.
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mikeatthebeach .

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Yes, Flex needs to address it, SSDR versions 1.9.7.1 and before were no issues
see issues in 1.9.13.89, my router, Wi-Fi the exact same throughout all versions
and no other shared devices on my Wi-Fi ( lost packets ) 
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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I would never reccomend using wifi uness there is no other choice.